Best Picnic Spots in Lanark County

Picnics are a great weekend activity which the whole family can enjoy! There are many locations around Lanark County which are perfect for enjoying a picnic lunch (or dinner!) If the weather is right, pack up your family, and meal, and head out to one of these great local spots!

The Mill of Kintail: Located just 5 minutes from Almonte, the Mill of Kintail is a wonderful spot for a family picnic. There are a number of different walking trails throughout the conservation area as well as a beautiful stream that is perfect for dipping your toes in on those hot summer days. There area includes a play structure and basketball court, picnic tables and a gazebo.

The Almonte Beach: Located at the Almonte Fairgrounds, the beach is in the heart of Almonte on the Mississippi River. There is a designated swimming area, and the beach does have lifeguards on duty throughout the summer months. There are covered picnic tables, great for picnics, as well as change rooms if you decide to go for a swim! Feel free to launch your canoe, kayak or paddle board here as well.

The Baird Trail, Lanark Highlands: Offering a .8km circular trail system, The Baird Trail is about 15 minutes from Almonte in Lanark Highlands. There are points along the trail that are marked and offer ecological information. There is a beautiful wetland in the middle of the property with a boardwalk, great for seeing turtles, frogs and birds. After you’ve experienced the trail, you can head back out to the parking area where there is a great picnic spot along with clean washrooms.

We are extremely fortunate to have so many beautiful, local areas where we can experience and enjoy the out of doors with our families. It is always an adventure when visiting any of these great locations. What type of wildlife will you see? Will you run in to other people along the way? Will you find any “nature treasures”? I’d love to hear about your favourite local picnic spots. Be sure to share with me on Facebook and Instagram!

The Good Food Tour – Almonte

Small town Almonte has much to offer in terms of food and drink. The Good Food Tour gives you a wonderful look into quality offerings that can be found locally. There are currently 3 tours running, 2 in Almonte and 1 in Carleton Place. Each tour in Almonte will take you to multiple different locations where you’ll get to learn how that entrepreneur’s food and/or drink is created. You’ll then, of course get to sample the finished product!

There 2 different tours offered in Almonte are the:

Down By The River Tour: This drink-friendly tour begins at the Crooked Mile Brewery on the edge of town. You’ll pair the British-style craft beer with neighbouring Equator Coffee Roasters Gourmet Pizza. Next you’ll move on to the Dairy Distillery, where you’ll sample uniquely crafted “Vodcow” and tour their stunning distillery. Part 2 of this tour, takes place in the older part of town where you’ll experience delectably pastries surrounded by the fine arts at Sivarulrasa Art Gallery. You’ll then walk up the street to the Mill Street Crepe Company and finally you’ll finish with tea and scones at the Tea & Cake Tea Room.

Downtown Meets Uptown Tour: This particular tour does not offer any alcoholic beverages, but you will definitely finish up feeling full! The tour starts at Equator Coffee Roaster’s where you’ll taste their locally roasted, organic, fair trade coffee and learn about their roasting process. Next, you’ll move on to award-winning Hummingbird Chocolate. Once back in the old part of town, you’ll visit Peches & Poivre for some artisanal cheeses and then make your way to the Mill Street Crepe Company for a delicious french crepe. This tour finishes at the Tea & Cake Tea Room where you’ll enjoy tea and scones.

The tour is perfect for new residents of Almonte as well as locals looking for a new way to experience their home town. The tours are also a great gift option. You are able purchase gift certificates directly from their website. Almonte is a wonderful little town with so many hidden gems. An event such as this one can uncover many great places and entrepreneurs that even locals may be unaware exist! Check out The Good Food Tour website for more information: https://thegoodfoodtour.com/

Farmer’s Market Carleton Place

Have you had a chance to visit the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market yet?? Located in the Market Square on the corner of Beckwith and Lake Avenue East in Carleton Place, it is a wonderful place to visit on Saturday mornings. The market is open every Saturday from mid-May until Thanksgiving from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. They have a wonderful variety of vendors including those selling fresh fruits and veggies, herbs and a variety of prepared foods. You can even attend the free yoga class from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. held every Saturday.

Some of the great people you’ll meet each week are:

Paul the Master Gardener: Do you have questions about gardening?? This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with an expert! Paul is available to chat with you about all of your gardening needs. Feel free to stop in and visit with Paul any Saturday this season!

Hamsa Yoga presents Yoga at the Market: Join Hamsa Yoga for a relaxing Saturday morning yoga practice held on the grounds just next to the Farmer’s Market. This great, free event is perfect for all levels of Yogi’s. Start your day off with a practice and then head over to visit your favourite vendors under the Market Square.

Raj’s Indian Kitchen: A tasty addition to the Farmer’s Market! Offering a wide variety of traditional Indian cuisine, many of their items are gluten-free and/or vegan. Raj’s has a great selection of menu items that changes weekly. Check out their Facebook page to stay updated on what their menu will be each Saturday.

Beckwith Berries: During Strawberry season, Beckwith Berries will be at the Market offering freshly picked, local strawberries. Beckwith Berries is known for their local strawberry farm and “pick-your-own” option. Leave the picking to them! They’ll be at the Market with baskets full of pre-picked berries. A tasty treat during the summer!

Path Back Farms: Offering chemical and pesticide-free organic vegetables, Path Back Farms is located between Almonte & Carleton Place. They offer a 16-week farm share as well as their weekly offerings of eggs & veggies which they bring to the market.

The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market has evolved over the years. It is a great addition to Downtown. They do take on new vendors yearly, so, if you’re interested in being a vendor be sure to check out their website: https://cpfarmersmarket.wordpress.com/. Don’t miss out on visiting this great Market! They do have unique event’s most weekends so be sure to check them out on Facebook weekly.

Almonte Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday, from May-October, local farmer’s and makers gather in the parking lot of the Almonte Public Library to sell their fresh produce, locally raised meats, fresh baking, pottery, woodwork, preserves, maple syrup and much more! The first market was held, in its current location, in 1990. It is open from 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. rain or shine. 

This year vendors include: 

Little Mississippi Juice Company: Local business owner Clare Carty offers cold-pressed juices that are super tasty and also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Clare normally operates out of Carriageway Studios, just off of Mill Street in Almonte. You are free to stop by the studio during her business hours to pick up frozen products as well as pre-order fresh juices. She will also be at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday.  You really must try my favourite “Sweet Beet Juice”  Pick-up some delicious juice this weekend! 

Back Forty Artisan Cheese: Coming all the way from the Hamlet of Mississippi Station, they are a small farm and sheep dairy. All of their raw sheep milk is used to create unpasteurized cheeses. They focus on animal welfare, quality home grown feed and pasture as well as land stewardship. Their high-quality milk is carefully refined into the most delicious cheese!

Grassroots Furniture Company: Clayton based woodworking company Grassroots Furniture focuses mainly on beautiful serving boards and cutting boards. He is also available to handle larger custom commission work. The wood he uses is locally harvested from his bush lot property. He then mills and seasons the lumber himself. Visit him every second Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. 

Laine Herbals: If you’re a fan of aromatherapy and essential oils, this is a vendor you won’t want to miss! She describes her inspiration as coming from her “deep love and respect for plants and her experience working with energetic healing modalities”. All of her products are organic, fair trade and locally grown. 

Earth’s Mirth: A more traditional Farmer’s Market vendor, Earth’s Mirth have both perennial flower and vegetable gardens in the Village of Lanark. In the spring they offer a large selection of heirloom vegetable, herbs and annual flowers. In the summer months, you’ll enjoy their salad greens, herbs, vegetables and berries. All fresh and locally grown!  These are just a few of the amazing local businesses that will have products available at the weekly Farmer’s Market. You can even stop by on Saturday morning with your dull knives in hand – they have a sharpening company every week!.  Whatever you decide, be ready to enjoy some wonderful local treats. Just steps from the downtown shopping area, this is the perfect way to begin any summer weekend. 

Best Locations to Watch Fireworks

Are you ready for the Canada Day long weekend!? It’s hard to believe we are almost coming in to July. Each year, many of our small communities offer celebrations over the July 1st weekend and top the long weekend off with a wonderful fireworks display. Here are a few of the places that you’ll be sure to catch the perfect view of the show:

Gemmill Park, Almonte: As usual, Almonte has a fantastic line-up for their Canada Day celebrations on Monday, July 1st. Festivities begin at 9 a.m. and feature the Annual Car Show on Mill Street, face painting and kids’ crafts, carnival games, bouncy castles and much, much more. The Gemmill Park Grand Stage will have live music beginning at 3:30 p.m. This fun filled day is topped off with a fireworks show at dusk. The fireworks are let off at Metcalfe Park and the absolute best spot to view the show is in the Gemmill Park bowl. Bring your picnic blanket so that you can sit (or lie) down and enjoy the show.

Riverside Park, Carleton Place: This year is an extra special year for Carleton Place. They are turning 200! You won’t want to miss this celebration as they claim that they will have the biggest fireworks show in the area this year. Enjoy the day full of activities in beautiful Riverside Park. The Fireworks will also be set off from the park area so you’ll be able to enjoy a waterfront light show at dusk!

Canada Day Eve in Pakenham: If you’re unable to make it to the local celebrations on Canada Day, Pakenham will be hosting their own event on Canada Day Eve, June 30th. Starting at 5:00 p.m, there will be a BBQ, bouncy castles, balloons and face painting. At 7:00 p.m. the annual parade will take place throughout the town of Pakenham. Live entertainment is planned from 8:00 p.m. to dusk when the fireworks show will take place. The fireworks are let off at the beach so the best spot to take in the show is at the Community Centre Field. This is an amazing event you won’t want to miss!

Wherever you choose to celebrate the Canada Day long weekend, the fireworks show is sure to be amazing. It’s an amazing way to celebrate the birth of our nation, and, the best country in the world to live in! If you have any suggestions on perfect viewing spots, I’d love to hear about them! Share with me on Facebook or Instagram. Enjoy the show!

Local Strawberry Picking

It’s finally strawberry season! Going to a pick-your-own strawberries at a local farm is a great summer activity for families. And with the first day of summer this week, it’s a great way to get out in the fresh air on a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Here are some of the area locations that offer pick-your-own strawberries:

Beckwith Berries: In Carleton Place, the Beckwith Berry Farm is a local favourite! Located on Cavanagh Road, Beckwith Berries has a huge berry field. They offer pick-your-own berries or you can pick-up various sizes of fresh picked berry baskets at their berry stand. Additionally, Beckwith Berries has stands in a variety of locations where you can pick-up a pre-picked berry basket. Remember to bring your cash, as this farm is cash only. Visit: http://www.beckwithberries.com/ for more info.

Mississippi Berries: Take a drive out to Lanark to visit the RiverRun Farms and their strawberry field, Mississippi Berries. They are a family run farm with a focus on sustainable production practices to produce high quality products. Their website mississippiberries.ca has some wonderful information about berry picking, berry facts and even recipes!

Kinburn Berries: Another wonderful family owned business located in the small town of Kinburn. They offer four different varieties of strawberries and allow you to pick-your-own or pick up a basket of pre-picked! The prices are a bit cheaper if you opt for pick-your-own baskets. For more information, including hours of operation, visit https://murrayhawley.webs.com/

Normally we are eating local berries by this time of year, but with the slow, cool, rainy spring we had, the season seems to be delayed a bit – so there is still plenty of time for you to take advantage. Not only is strawberry picking a great outdoor activity for the whole family to enjoy, but you also end up with delicious, locally grown, strawberries! There are many wonderful recipe ideas on pinterest.ca. Strawberries make the perfect addition to any meal. If you head out to pick-your-own this summer, be sure to take some photos and share your experiences with me on Facebook and Instagram!

Best Father’s Day Gifts!

Can you believe it’s almost Father’s Day? The month of June is flying by and we are already heading into our third week. Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday so have you purchased that perfect gift yet? It can be difficult to come up with something that shows your Dad how much they are loved and appreciated. Here is my list of wonderful ways to show your Dad you love them!

Buy him “Dad” gear: Many of our local gift shops have some great “Dad” gear in stock for Father’s Day. Some favourites include the traditional “Dad” mugs, “Dad” t-shirts & “Dad” accessories! A unique option is customizable “Dad” keychains, available from local maker 7 Paper Houses. Choose your keychain and add relevant charms. You can pick these up locally at Little Loves Company in Carleton Place!

Give him a BBQ gift basket: If your dad is a bbq chef, he will love a BBQ themed gift basket. Check out your local butcher or gourmet food shop to pick up specialty sauces, rubs and spices. Throw in a few accessories, like a scraper or brush to complete the gift! (If you include steaks, he can even cook dinner that night!)

Make him dinner: Create his favourite meal! Cook him his number 1 choice BBQ meat, homemade pizza, chili or whatever it is that is top of his dinner food list. Add in a special dessert such as ice cream sundaes or his favourite cake and dad will be sure to feel how much he is appreciated! And, don’t forget the perfect card.

Put together a “Local Coffee” gift basket: Is your dad a coffee connoisseur? We have a number of coffee roasters locally which always provide great gift options for the coffee lover in your life. Check out Equator Coffee Roasters or Fluid Solar Coffee Roasters for some one-of-a-kind beans. Equator, located in Almonte, also has some great coffee accessories available in their shop.

Make him a gift: There is nothing more personal than a homemade gift! This option is especially great if you have young children. It gets them directly involved in the gifting process. Check out pinterest.ca for a variety of clever (and useful!) homemade gift ideas. You could even create your own gift tag or card to top it off.

Any of these ideas will be sure to please dad this coming Sunday. The kind gesture, whether it be home made, a meaningful purchased gift or a simple phone call, will have an impact. Show dad how much you care and make this Father’s Day special.

What’s Going on in Almonte this Weekend??

It looks like it’s going to be a perfect weekend, weather wise! Luckily, there are a number of great events going on around Almonte! Our town has so much to offer during the summer months; festivals, fairs, farmer’s markets and much, much more. If you haven’t made your weekend plan’s yet, here are some great ideas on things you can do in Almonte…

Porchfest: If you receive my monthly Realtor Ezine (if you don’t, you can subscribe today by sending me an email), you’ll already have all of the details on Porchfest. This Saturday evening, residents of Almonte will be hosting the second annual Mississippi Mills Porchfest, which is sure to be just as wonderful as last year! Local musicians will be setting up on porch’s all around town. Visit the Porchfest website https://www.mmporchfest.com for venue details and performers, or, wander the town and follow your ears! Remember to bring your own lawn chair & water.

Busfusion: If you’ve lived in Almonte for a while, you’ll know all about Busfusion! You’ve probably seen the many Volkswagen Campers that flood our town for one weekend every summer. Busfusion is an annual event that allows Volkswagen Camper owners to camp for 3 nights at the Almonte Fairgrounds. There are events planned throughout the weekend for festival goers including a tie-dye workshop, live music, children’s activities and a puppy parade! Busfusion begins on Thursday, June 6th and runs until Sunday June, 9th, 2019.

Live Streaming of the Raptors Game: The Toronto Raptors will be playing Game 4 of the NBA finals this Friday, June 7t, 2019h. Almonte is the home of basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith. Our small town will be celebrating their history and love of the sport by hosting a live, outdoor screening of this Friday’s game. The first screening, last Sunday, was a huge success! Don’s Meat Market and the mobile Equator Coffee truck will both be on site to provide food and drinks. Visit the Old Town Hall at 7:30 pm this Friday!

The weather is forecast to be hot and sunny this weekend, perfect for any of these great local events. Keep me updated on which event’s you attend! I’d love for you to share your photos with me on Facebook or Instagram. And, I may run in to you around town!

Local Airbnbs

A lot of times, living in a small town means there aren’t any major hotel chains nearby. In the Ottawa Valley, we are fortunate to have a wide array of small boutique hotels, bed & breakfasts and Airbnb options. Airbnb’s are a growing trend and in Almonte and Carleton Place there are a number of great options available, depending on what it is you are looking for.
The Almonte Suites: Located steps from downtown Almonte, the Almonte Suites offers a number of different apartments. There are 2 different self-contained suites, each with their own kitchen. Also available is the entire house to rent for larger groups. Walk to downtown shops and restaurants in less than 5 minutes.
https://thealmontesuites.ca

The Almonte Suites II: Just up the road from the Almonte Suites, is a beautiful 2-unit home with a full, 3-bedroom suite as well as a cozy bachelor apartment. Both are tastefully decorated and renovated. Each unit has a private entrance and own laundry facilities.
https://thealmontesuites.ca

Pinehurst Manor (Almonte): For larger groups, this stunning historic home has been dubbed the “Downton Abbey” of the Ottawa Valley by previous guests. This beautiful home is ideal for entertaining and events. The exterior offers stunning yards with flower gardens as well as a large stone patio with fire pit and BBQ which overlook the waterfalls and river. There is a 95-yard golf hole and space to basketball or badminton. This great Airbnb can accommodate 20+ people. We have personally stayed at this venue and LOVE it!
https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/14786959?s=51

Sunny Napoleon St. (Carleton Place): A hidden gem close to downtown Carleton Place! This Airbnb has been given rave reviews from previous guests. The entire, beautifully renovated, log house is for rent and can accommodate up to 5 guests. At just $100/night, it’s a bargain price for a beautiful home rental!
https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/24013581?s=51

Chateau Jan (Carleton Place): Just outside of Carleton Place on a beautiful 2.6-acre lot, this Airbnb offers a wonderful apartment and a taste of country living! You’ll have private access to the entire walk-out basement of this stunning home which can accommodate up to 9 guests. Enjoy roasting marshmallows by the fire, sitting poolside and enjoy fresh eggs from the host’s chickens!
https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/29808102?s=51

Whether you’re visiting family, attending an event or getting away for a weekend, any of these Airbnb options will be sure to please! Have you visited a great, local Airbnb? I’d love to hear your experience. Share with me on Facebook or Instagram.

Best Local Parks

One of the great things about family living in Mississippi Mills is that we are surrounded by a variety of wonderful parks! Our beautiful community parks offer splash pads, play structures, bike/walking trails and even a Geoheritage park. Visiting one of these locations is a great activity for you and your family to enjoy on a warm, sunny day. Here are some of the park options available to your family locally:

Gemmill Park (Almonte): One of the larger parks around, Gemmill Park offers a brand-new splash pad, multiple play structures, a skateboard park, baseball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a disc golf course, horseshoe pits and a natural amphitheater. The newly upgraded children’s play area has a great, recycled rubber surface. The forested area surrounding the park offers beautiful, peaceful, safe walking trails. This is a spot the whole family can enjoy!

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park (Almonte): Located on the picturesque waterfront at the bottom of Bay Hilil, steps from downtown Almonte, this unique park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. The Geoheritage portion of the park offers 22 samples of sedimentary rocks ranging from 490 – 440 billion years old! All of which are native to our area.

Riverside Park (Carleton Place): This park is situated just outside of downtown Carleton Place on the Mississippi River. It includes 2 public boat launches, a beautiful beach, large picnic area, play structures and a splash pad. Watch the kayaks and canoes go by as you enjoy the weather at this exceptional waterfront park.

Town Square (Carleton Place): Another incredible waterfront park, Town Square is located just behind the Carleton Place Town Hall directly on the Mississippi River just off of the main downtown core. It includes a new patio area complete with washrooms and unique life-sized chess, checkers and domino courts.

Fred Millar Park (Pakenham): You don’t have to go far to visit a great beach! Located behind the Community Centre in Pakenham, Fred Millar Park offers a fully operational beach. They even offer supervised swims on Mondays & Wednesdays from 12:00pm – 4:00pm, during the summer months. The park area has lit ball diamonds, horseshoe pits and a canteen.

The warmer weather is upon us (or at least will be soon) and you’ll be wanting to cool off at the nearest waterfront or splash pad. We are fortunate to have such a variety of fantastic parks at our fingertips. Visit one of these local gems and share your visit with me on Facebook or Instagram.